What does this mean and why do so many people throw this slew of words around during this time of year? From a health and fitness standpoint, it seems logical that this would mean “maintain your weight, but don’t gain weight”. Sure, it sounds fine and dandy for people to try to do this, but why only over the Holiday Season do I hear this? Maybe I don’t have health and fitness ears until I reach the Holidays? Nope. I think that people try to “survive” the Holiday Season by living by the slogan above. Let's break this down....
First, I need to be clear. Maintaining a healthy weight is absolutely important and I think we should all strive for that in our personal lives. However, “Maintain But Don’t Gain”, (I think) comes from a different angle. You could be mildly, or moderately, obese and adopt that slogan for the Holidays... Does that mean you are maintaining a healthy weight? No. Does it mean you are trying to ‘maintain’ your weight? Yes. Maybe we should say, "maintain a healthy weight" before we even consider a 'Maintain But Don't Gain" attitude? Do you see the difference?
The other problem I think of when I hear this statement is: What will you do for the rest of the year? Do you just ‘survive’ the Holiday Season and then miraculously envision weight loss and let it happen the first 10 days of January? Or are you simply gaining weight all year and just trying to maintain your weight at the Holiday treat infused Season? If this is the case, the mindset you are taking into 2014 may not lead you to your healthy weight.
The third problem I think about when I hear this is how low we have lowered the bar for ourselves. The average adult gains between 1-3 lbs of extra weight over each Holiday Season. 1 lb is 3,500 extra calories. 3 lbs would be 10,500 extra calories, which you were not able to expend over that same Holiday time period... Pull yourself together and set the bar higher. If all we are doing for our personal lives during the Holidays is ‘surviving’ by ‘maintaining’ our weight we really need to look at the standards we have set for ourselves.
Now, this does not mean you have to run a marathon over the Holidays or that you have to do two workouts per day. Just do what you should be doing at all other times of the year. Exercise daily and eat a balanced diet which is richly social with friends and family, drink more water than beer and take the dog for an extra walk each day.
I challenge you to workout harder, walk more and to spend the Holiday Season reinventing yourself with your friends and family. Do not just ‘survive’ over the Holidays, thrive over the Holidays.